By Carol Gentry
05/15/12 © Health News Florida
For decades, the Chamber of Commerce has called for stepped-up efforts to restrain health-care inflation, saying it hurts U.S. competitiveness and keeps businesses from hiring.
But now, the Chamber is paying millions of dollars to blanket our state with commercials that accuse Democrats of cutting $500 billion from Medicare through the Affordable Care Act. The commercial is an attack ad against Sen. Bill Nelson, who voted for the law.
The commercial shows just how low the business community has sunk: The Chamber is willing to twist its own core beliefs inside out in order to achieve its political ends.
Besides, in case anyone cares, the claim about the $500 billion isn't even true, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Because of the aging population, Medicare spending is projected to rise from the current $560 billion to over $1 trillion a decade from now.
The $500 billion mentioned in the Chamber's ad is what the health law is projected to achieve in spending reductions more than a decade out, assuming the law hasn't been thrown out or monkeyed with in the meantime.
Finding ways to curb spending? We should be so lucky. And if it weren't playing fast and loose with the truth, the Chamber would admit it.
As things stand, we have to rely on independent sources to blow the whistle -- in this case, FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.com. But is anyone paying attention?
As the Palm Beach Post reports, Nelson's request to TV stations to stop running the deceptive ad was shrugged off.
Businesses that hold membership in the Chamber of Commerce should protest what is going on. As for the rest of us, maybe it's time for a vacation from TV.
--Health News Florida is an independent online publication dedicated to public-service journalism. Editor Carol Gentry can be reached at 727-410-3266 or by e-mail.